I Can’t Live Without Your Care


Photo illustration by Hollie Santos, for

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By Ricardo Márquez

SAN DIEGO  — The experience of holding a newborn is not only something indescribable for a parent who gave him or her life, but also for me, who has had the privilege of doing it as a father and now, as grandfather to a grandson.

To hold a newborn is to hold in your hands all human dependency and vulnerability; if the baby could speak he would say: “I totally depend on you, what you tell me, what you do with my tiny body, how you caress me, how you protect me, if you feed me, if you take care of me, if you love me.”

To hold a baby and look into his eyes is like penetrating the mystery of the galaxies; to see through eyes that have yet to be contaminated with prejudices, labels, definitions, conclusions, opinions … it’s a liberating experience.

The gaze of a newborn is still hazy but can distinguish objects and begins to distinguish faces nearby.

In this exchange of gazes, I asked myself: “What does he see in me?”

I imagined his response.

“I see something that shines when it’s near me (he does not know yet of glasses), has a mustache and a little hair on top, has a round face that is very big.”

I continued to imagine his impression of me.

“Even though I can’t see you clearly, I can feel your warmth, how you hold me with firmness, cradling my unstable head… When you hold me and put me on your chest, I feel your heart beating, which reminds me of my mother’s heartbeat when I was in her womb. I feel safe, loved and accepted by you. I feel special.”

At this stage, babies are receptive centers of the emotions of the people who surround them, information that begins to be stored in the emotional memory that they are developing. These are basic, original experiences, from where the  unconscious construction begins of what later will become conscious or will remain hidden in a subterranean river that could take them to an undesired destiny.

During this initial phase, they can already feel and capture the emotional state of their mother and of the people who live in the house. They begin to distinguish the distinct feelings of those who carry them and are stressed, something that unsettles them, or of those who communicate security and peace by their voice or touch.

Instinctively, they begin to draw close to those who give off a good vibe, a subtle energy of affection and protection; and they vigorously pull away from those who are tense and transmit an anxious, worried or sad energy.

It seems like an exaggeration to say that the future of humankind, of human coexistence, depends on these initial moments in the first years of life, but it’s not. In these first moments, we sow what we will harvest in the future.

I’m not sure that parents, family members, grandparents and childcare workers are aware of what happens from our treatment and relationship with newborns, that we can transmit to them the anxieties, worries and wounds that accompany us.

There are no perfect situations to raise perfect children, but it does make a difference when parents, family members and individuals close to children cultivate and radiate the best we have received: respect, care, acceptance and love.

At the end of the day, grateful for all that the baby I held in my arms taught me, I murmured in the mystery of the presence of God: “Lord, let me be how he looks at me, which is the closest that I can experience of how You gaze at me,” without prejudices, with full acceptance and confidence of what I am … and that I learn to look at him and all human beings how You see us.

Ricardo Márquez can be reached at





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